Attacks and counter-attacks are rampant in the streets of Lahore, Pakistan.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bombers who attacked two churches in the Christian neighbourhood of Youhanabad on Sunday. After the attacks, a Taliban spokesman warned reporters in an email statement: “There will be more of such attacks.”
On Monday, some Pakistanis identified as Christians responded by rioting and blockading roads, including a major highway in Lahore. Transportation services shut down as demonstrators ransacked bus terminals, smashed vehicle windows, and pelted rocks at police. Two men suspected of involvement in the church bombings were burned alive.
Religiously motivated violence is no stranger to Pakistan. The Taliban group behind Sunday’s attacks has been waging insurgency for more than a decade, killing thousands of Pakistanis in the process. In June, Pakistan launched a major operation to rout militants from their strongholds. Pakistan’s interior minister said this “inhuman act of terrorism” against Christian churches reflected the group’s “frustration” in the face of a military offensive against them.
Religious minorities also face frustration, as Christian activist Paul Jacob told The Washington Post , Pakistani Christians “feel as if they are being pushed out of the country.”
“There is so much hate speech against minorities and flaws in the school curriculum, but nothing has been done,” Jacob added.
Making up less than 2 percent of Pakistan’s total population, Christians often poorly educated and confined to menial jobs like trash collecting, and also bear the brunt of societal disdain and increasing attacks on their homes and communities.
- Pray for peace on the streets on Lahore and across Pakistan.
- Pray that Pakistan Christians will not seek revenge or use violence themselves.
- Pray for an end to the religious intolerance and persecution in Pakistan.
Nehemiah 4 vs 9: “So we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”